Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016



Private E/1573

Royal Fusiliers, 17th Battalion City of London Battalion

Killed in action - 27th July 1916

Known as Joe, Private Joseph Booth was the son of Herbert and Mary Booth.  Joe had an elder half brother named William and a full sister named Florence when he was born in the summer of 1895.

Joe's mother Mary was born in Netherton, Leicestershire, she had married Abel Hardy in 1887 but sadly Abel died the following year leaving Mary with a young baby son to bring up.  Mary was living in Wigan, Lancashire where she remained for a few more years.  In 1891 she was living with the Holland family, she had a job as a dressmaker and young William was just 3 years old.

A couple of years later in 1893 Mary married Herbert Booth in Chesterfield.  They soon started their own family with the birth of baby Florence in 1894.

The Booth family....

By 1901 Joe had two more sisters; Ethel and May.  The Booth family were living at 64 High Street, New Whittington.  Joe's Aunt Rosannah and Uncle Mark Garratt were also living with the Booth family at the time.  Herbert, Joe's father was born in Heanor, he most likely moved to the area for the employment in the coal mines.

1911, the eve of war....

The 1911 census finds Joe and his family had moved a short distance to live at number 130 High Street, still in New Whittington.  Joe was aged 15 years old by now and was employed as a coal miner along with his father Herbert.  Florence was 17 years old and worked as a dressmaker, no doubt taught the tricks of the trade by her mother Mary.

The past decade had seen happy and sad times in the Booth household; two new children were born, Herbert and Frank but sadly May had died in 1905 aged just 4 years old.

Joe's half brother William had married Nellie Neale in 1908, that same year the couple had their first child; a daughter named May.  In 1911 they bore a son named Harold.  They were living at 14 Back Lane, South Street in New Whittington at this time.

Joe's war....

Joe's service records have not survived but his medal card states that he entered the field of war on 17th November 1915.  His obituary tells that Joe joined up with the Royal Fusiliers in January 1915 and undertook his basic training, leaving from Salisbury Plain to join the British Expeditionary Force in November 1915.  They left from Folkestone on 16th November to arrive in Boulogne and moved on to the rest camp at Ostrohove.

Joe, Private E/1573 was to serve with the 17th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers Regiment , also known as the City of London Regiment, the 17th Battalion had formed on 31st August 1914.  Just after Joe had arrived in France with his battalion they became part of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division.  

The first weeks of January 1916 were spent in billets at Norrent Fontes, a fairly restful time in comparison to many other battalions.  By the end of January Joe would have witnessed his first enemy fire, as they were shelled "intermittently".  The following months would be made up of moving from billets to trenches in different locations, working parties sent out at night, digging and repairing trenches.  Joe would be bombarded by enemy whizzbangs, mortar bombs and shells on a regular basis.

At the beginning of July 1916 the 17th Battalion were in trenches at Villers Aux Bois.  They moved in and out of trenches and billets and in the early hours of 26th July they found themselves in Delville Wood being heavily bombed by the enemy for 15 minutes.  They were forced to move to the area known as Longueval Alley.  The war diary goes on to say they were "shelled all day with shrapnel.  casualties 3 O.R killed, 12 O.R wounded".    The enemy bombardment lasted all day and included gas shells later on in the day, one ordinary rank soldier was gassed.

On 27th July the bombardment continued, at 7.10am the attack on Delville Wood commenced by the 99th Brigade.  "Longueval Alley heavily shelled, all communication with the wood broken".  That afternoon a messenger arrived with news that it was suspected that the Germans were getting "thin in the right flank". The "A" and "B" Coys moved up into Delville Wood around 2pm that afternoon.  

The war diary continues "Shelling of Longueval Alley continued all day....Casualties Lt Robinson wounded, Captain Parsons wounded, Capt. Knocker wounded, 2/lt Penny killed, Lt Fletcher killed, O.R 16 killed, 90 wounded, 7 missing".  The next 3/4 days of July followed in the same vain, the 17th Battalion put up a fight in Delville Wood, they moved on to attack at Guillemont on 30th.  Many more casualties and deaths were sustained.

Joe was killed in action on 27th July 1916, he is one of 127 Royal Fusilliers killed on that day and remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

Private E/1573 Joseph Booth is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France.  His name can be found on the panels Pier & Face 8, C9A + 16A.

Joe was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.

Joe had his obituary written in the Derbyshire Times issue dated 12th August 1916, page 4.  It reads....

"Another Whittington soldier to fall is
Pvte. Joe Booth, who formerly resided with 
his parents in High Street, New Whittington.  

He was only 21 years of age, and joined the Royal Fusiliers in 
January of last year.  He was trained at several places, 
the last being at Salisbury Plain before being sent 
to France in November last.  

In a letter to the parents Major McKenzie says;
"i very much regret that your son was killed in action,
charging the enemy on July 27th.  He was a very
gallant soldier, and I wish to express to you my 
deepest sympathy in your loss as I am proud to
have commanded men like your son".

From information through another source Booth, it appears,
was hit by shrapnel in the chest and lived only a few minutes.

Before enlisting he worked at the Glapwell Colliery"

Life went on....

Herbert & Mary Booth remained in New Whittington.  Herbert died in 1931 aged 60 years old.  Mary lived on until 1949 when she died aged 82 years old.

William Hardy and his wife Nellie suffered the loss of their second child Harold in 1912 when aged only 1 year old he died.  They had at least one other child, a son named Eric in 1913.  

In 1939 the William and Nellie were living at The Beeches, Swallownest, Yorkshire.  William was employed as a colliery deputy.

Florence Booth married Charles Asher in 1913.  Charles was from Codnor in Nottinghamshire, he worked as a stallman in the coal mines. They had a son named Charles on 22nd November 1913.  In 1915 the couple also lost a baby, another female child named once again May (after Florence's deceased sister maybe?).  

On 25th May 1916 Florence named her newest arrival, a baby boy after his Uncle; Joseph.  Little did they know that only two months later fate would take away brave Uncle Joe.  A few years on in 1918 a daughter was born and named once again as May.  

In 1931 Florence and Charles became parents once more, a son named Herbert was born.  Sadly Herbert died in 1939 aged just 7 years old.  He had been admitted to Langwith Isolation Hospital suffering from Scarlett Fever.  

A son named Robert in 1921, daughter named Doreen in 1923 and another daughter named Winifred in 1935 may also be children of Florence and Charles but I have not confirmed these with the relevant birth certificate. 

Florence died on 17th March 1951, her address at the time was 13 Barrow Street, Lowgates, Staveley near Chesterfield.  Her probate entry shows her executors were; her brother Frank Booth who worked as a schoolmaster and her son Charles who was an omnibus driver.  Her effects came to £2090 13s 9d.  Her husband Charles died in 1965.

Ethel Booth I have not confirmed any marriage for Ethel.  If anyone can add to Ethel's story please do let me know.

Herbert Booth left school and found employment on the railways.  He worked as a fireman at the London, Midland & Scottish Railways locomotion sheds.  He had been employed their for six years when in April of 1924 he became ill with pneumonia.  Herbert suffered with the illness for only six days but sadly he lost his fight and passed away.  He was only 22 years old.

His obituary can be found in the Derbyshire Times 19th April 1924 page 7, which tells how he was a member of the Social Institute and Comrades Institute at New Whittington.  He was buried at St Bartholomew's Church in the village.

Frank Booth studied hard and qualified as a school teacher.  His first post was in 1926 when he would be aged around 19 years old.  In 1939 Frank was living with his mother Mary at 122 High Street, New Whittington.  Whether Frank married or when he died I have not confirmed at this time.


If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Joe Booth or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.


Ref and further reading  -
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects

Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times

CWGC  http://www.cwgc.org

War diaries - Piece 1350/2 17th Battalion Royal Fusilliers November 1915 - January 1918

The book "The Royal Fusilliers in the Great War" by C O'Neil can be read on the Internet Archive via the following link https://archive.org/stream/royalfusiliersin00onei/royalfusiliersin00onei_djvu.txt

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